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Axe Tiptoes Around Obama the Sensitive

4:42 PM, Jul 31, 2009 • By MICHAEL GOLDFARB
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Obama's always talking tough...he's from Chicago, he brings guns to knife fights, he was editor of the Harvard Law Review, etc. But it seems not everyone inside his campaign was terribly convinced that Obama had what it takes to survive the rough and tumble of a national political campaign. From Dan Balz's new book, a memo from Axelrod to Obama before he announced in 2006:

Axelrod also warned that Obama's confessions of youthful drug use, described in his memoir, "Dreams From My Father," would be used against him. "This is more than an unpleasant inconvenience," he wrote. "It goes to your willingness and ability to put up with something you have never experienced on a sustained basis: criticism. At the risk of triggering the very reaction that concerns me, I don't know if you are Muhammad Ali or Floyd Patterson when it comes to taking a punch. You care far too much what is written and said about you. You don't relish combat when it becomes personal and nasty. When the largely irrelevant Alan Keyes attacked you, you flinched," he said of Obama's 2004 Senate opponent.